Who is Chelsea target Alex Sandro and what could he bring to the Blues?

Lane Dias August 18, 2020
Who is Chelsea target Alex Sandro and what could he bring to the Blues?
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Alex Sandro is arguably among the best left-backs in the world, let alone in Serie A. The Brazilian has been an integral part of Juventus’ back-line for the last five trophy-laden seasons, making 198 appearances in all competitions.

Success in Italy

Having arrived in Turin from Porto in August 2015, he has become a serial-winner. He helped I Bianconeri win the Scudetto in each season, securing a domestic league and Cup double in his first three campaigns, while also winning the Supercoppa Italiana in 2018.

He also played in all but two matches of La Vecchia Signora’s nearly-triumphant 2016-17 Champions League run, which saw them reach the Final, where they were beaten by the competition’s most successful club Real Madrid.

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International pedigree

The defender has made 23 appearances overall for Brazil’s senior national team, making his debut in an international friendly against Gabon in 2011. His terrific club performances over the last couple of seasons, have seen him cement a regular place under Tite.

However, despite missing out on the 2018 World Cup at the expense of the more-experienced Marcelo and Filipe Luís, the full-back featured in the Seleção’s 2019 Copa América triumph.

He was an unused substitute in the first two Group games, but came off the bench in the final game of the Group Stage and Quarter-final, before starting in the Semi-final and Final – keeping clean sheets in the first three of the four.

Alex Sandro to Chelsea?

Sandro has been linked with a move to the Premier League and Chelsea are reportedly keen on acquiring the services of the Brazilian international.

The 29 year-old had initially been on the radar of the west London outfit, during Antonio Conte’s tenure at The Blues. The Stamford Bridge club had allegedly tabled a bid of £60 million for Sandro in 2017, but the move failed to materialise, due to the reluctance of then-Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri.

With Juventus seemingly enduring a phase of rebuilding under new manager Andrea Pirlo, the club will need to raise funds for new signings.

According to reports from Corriere dello Sport, La Madama are willing to let up to six players leave the club, including Sandro, who could be sold for a fee of €40 million (£36.2 million).

Should Chelsea seize the opportunity and bring Sandro to west London, what sort of player would they be getting?

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Alex Sandro’s attacking attributes

Sandro’s style of play has drawn comparisons with compatriots Roberto Carlos and Marcelo. Like his fellow-Brazilians, he is a quick technician on the ball, renown for his attacking approach to games, and overlapping-runs forward, which he makes to support teammates.

He is also unphased by one-on-one duels and relishes the opportunity to take-on opponents and showcase his dribbling ability. He is a natural left-footed player, which allows him to put crosses into the box first time, control passes from the opposite flanks with very little difficulty, and deliver inviting deliveries from set-pieces with his wand of a left foot.

Despite being utilised as a full-back, he is a versatile player and has appeared as a wing-back, a midfielder and even on the left side of attack for Juve.

This aspect would be beneficial for Chelsea, who under Frank Lampard, have altered their formation to a back-three on occasions. It would enable him to provide cover for his defensive counter-parts, while also be an option in offensive areas for The Blues.

Alex Sandro has defensive capabilities

His aforementioned pace is an asset defensively, which helps him to track back and make recovery / last-ditch challenges and key fouls when under-attack.

The 29-year-old’s time alongside the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon respectively, has undoubtedly made him a better player in defence.

He has learnt the importance of positional awareness, and has become more disciplined in every sense of the word. He knows when to go forward and press, and when to stay back and cover (in counter-attack scenarios).

Sandro has developed further by showing opponents down the line, instead of allowing them to drift inside and get goal-side. In his time in Italy, he has also become accustomed to playing a high defensive-line, pushing forward to catch opponents offside.

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Comparisons with Marcos Alonso

The Brazilian would certainly provide competition for Marcos Alonso on the left side of defence for Chelsea. Both players are predominantly left-footed and are tremendous in attack.

Sandro has 11 goals and 19 assists in 135 Serie A matches compared to the Spaniard’s 20 goals and 12 assists in 138 Premier League games, across three clubs.

The Juventus defender also seems to be a more of a reliable option than Alonso too. With his positional awareness and quick change of speed, Sandro would more than just deputise for the Spaniard dubbed, ‘Alonslow’ by some fans, who has often been caught out while attempting to track back.

Though both players have a reputation for being hot-tempered, they have improved their disciplinary record in recent seasons. Alonso picked up five yellow cards this term, with Sandro receiving four bookings the entire campaign – the fewest number since he joined the side.

Only time will tell whether Alex Sandro eventually ends up at Chelsea, but at an attacking side that complements his style of play in a back-three, he would certainly flourish in Lampard’s system and challenge Alonso for a place in the starting-lineup.

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BA (Hons) First Class degree in Sports Journalism at the University of East London. Sports fan, avid traveller, foodie and lover of films and tv.